After letting the first draft of my manuscript rest for what seemed like forever (it was only a month), I did my first read through. At this point, where my WIP currently stands, I'm calling it a second draft. What surprised me was that I did far more reading than I did editing/revising, if that makes any sense. Sure, I fixed the obnoxious errors, typos, and god-awful sounding sentences... but, I really just wanted to get an idea of how it all sounded, how it all flowed. Quite frankly, there was a lot of really good and a lot of really bad. Here's some of what I noticed:
*The first half of the novel was not nearly as good as the second half. This surprised me. I've read so much about people, agents, etc. saying that many authors start with really strong early pages, but then sort of peter out. For me, it was the complete opposite. I found that, starting off, I was doing far more editing and getting through a single chapter without doubting myself as a writer was more difficult. As I moved into the second half of the manuscript, I was reading much faster and was finishing chapters/scenes feeling like, "Man, that kicked ass." The key for me now will be matching the tone, pacing, writing of the 2nd half of the story with the first.
*I noticed I was reusing certain words and phrases way too frequently. This I did force myself to stop and address because it was annoying me so incredibly much. I have nothing further to say on the matter.
*Definitely found some plot holes. That'll take a little bit more thought and eventual tweaking, but at least with this initial read-through I'm aware of them. I won't allow myself to be done with the next draft until all of those have been fixed.
*Some characters are just written better than others. This is natural, I guess. I definitely will want to spend some extra time hanging out with a few of them on the next go-around, though.
So, now, I'm faced with a few other questions. Do I pick this thing right back up and get goin' on my next draft? Does it need to rest yet again? At what point do I need to start thinking about beta-reader-ing? When is it time to let another set of eyes feast upon my words?
At this point no one, and I mean no one, has seen my WIP. Not even my wife. She knows as much as the rest of you do: that it's a YA, SciFi adventure. I'm just now starting to get excited at the idea of receiving feedback, in whatever form that might take. I can't wait to share my story with others. Up to this point, it's only resided within the confines of my brain.
And that, my friends, is a terrifying place.
find me and more of my bookish rantings @RimerTom